Quick Study

By Brian Robinson

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Federal IT budget heads for the cloud(s)

As this is the period for discussions about the government budget, it’s appropriate, I guess, to wonder what’s going to happen to the information technology billions that the Obama administration has proposed for fiscal 2011. Seems like they’ll be feeding the cloud.

At least that the first impression you get from some of the stories floating around the ether. This one from the online tech commenters at GigaOM, actually predicts that the government will be a big player in sorting out some of the interoperability and standards problems in the cloud arena because of the billions it’s likely to spend.

Government markets watcher Input says it’s taking federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra at his word about moving federal agencies to the cloud, and predicts a surge over the next five years to something above a $1 billion market. That's a small part of the overall government IT market, to be sure, but as the GigaOM piece points out, around 70 percent of the budget each year goes just to maintain what’s already there.

Input also says that, given the example of the Labor Department, agencies might be willing to bypass the pilot stage that Kundra is pushing and go right to large-scale implementations.

OK. But, as a long-time skeptic, I’d also point to this story from Stateline.org that details some of the problems that many government agencies have had and are having in implementing big projects. I know the cloud is supposed to help with that, but getting there will still mean that projects have to be managed, no?

As a resource for all you nervous nellies out there, Mitre Corp. has started an online forum where industry brains are grappling with the issues involved with implementing cloud programs.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Feb 04, 2010 at 12:19 PM


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